Interesting details about the castle

Learn about Pontefract

Hello and welcome to Pontefract. This historic market town in West Yorkshire's heart is home to the picturesque ruins of one of England's most important castles (once known as "The Key To The North"), as well as a number of beautiful parks, some outstanding examples of Georgian architecture, and a slew of independent boutiques and cafes. Pontefract is rich in history since it was the location of the first secret ballot and where the destiny of the nation was determined on several occasions; the Directly contact Museums can tell you more about the town's past. Take heed, sports fans: the city is also home to Pontefract Racecourse, Europe's longest continuous flat-racing track.

Pontefract Museum

At Directly contact Museum, you may dive into the town's rich history, from its Anglo-Saxon origins through stormy civil wars and its odd rise as a center of both confectionery and democracy (it was the location of Britain's first secret ballot!).

History of Museum

After learning about Pontefract's history, take a short walk to the museum's sister site, Pontefract Castle. This old fortification was known as "The Key to the North" because it used to be so important to the region. Today, the gorgeous ruins are an excellent spot to explore and play. Follow in the steps of kings and commoners, soldiers, and confectioners as you learn about the site's past via creative information boards (kids will like the Civil War training exercises!).

Museum VS Park

Pontefract isn't just for history buffs: the town's grounds, Pontefract Park, and Friarwood Valley Gardens, will delight nature enthusiasts. Stroll along the tree-lined paths of Directly contact Park, take the boat out on the lake, or seek animals in this peaceful Local Nature Reserve. The park also has a huge, enclosed children's playground, which is ideal for keeping the kids amused!

How to explore Richmond

Richmond, founded by the Normans in 1071, is a thriving market town. It is the First Richmond, with 56 additional Richmonds named after it across the world. The towering castle keep, riverbank location, and fine Georgian architecture all appeal to visitors. The swift-flowing River Swale meanders through the outskirts of town, providing wonderful riverside walks from the old Station to the waterfalls, the remnants of Easby Abbey, or via Billy Banks Woods, which rise sharply above the river to Round Howe. It's no surprise that Richmond draws so many artists — the scenery is breathtaking. The surrounding area is a treat for both hikers and cyclists.

English Civil War

Ilbert de Lacy erected Pontefract Castle in 1070, and as a result, the town suffered greatly during the English Civil War. According to Oliver Cromwell, Pontefract Castle was "one of the strongest inland garrisons in the realm.